A 22-year-old man who fatally stabbed his girlfriend more than 80 times in a frenzied attack at the British horse sanctuary where she worked has been jailed for 23 years.
Jordan Taylor appeared in the Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday for sentencing after being found guilty by a jury on Thursday of the murder of 21-year-old Laura Davies.
Laura was a groom at the Essex Horse and Pony Protection Society, where she had worked for two and a half years. Her duties included staying in a flat on site to care for the animals at night.
The court was told that Laura had been dating Taylor since December 2014 and that he had moved into her accommodation at the stables.
Colleagues, friends and family told jurors that she had grown tired of Taylor’s controlling and jealous behaviour by June of last year.
Evidence emerged that she had intended to end her relationship with Taylor on the evening of July 3 – the same evening she was killed.
Officers went to the sanctuary in Pitsea Hall Lane around 8.15 that evening after a member of the public contacted police to say he had just seen a woman being stabbed and that he had seen the man, covered in blood, standing over her.
Officers searched the grounds close to the flat and found Taylor, who appeared to be hiding near some bushes and was crouched over Laura.
Laura had critical injuries and was rushed to hospital, but died that night.
The 9-centimetre black-handled kitchen knife used in the attack was found in the undergrowth nearby.
Judge Charles Gratwicke imposed a 23-year jail term on Taylor. He described the incident as “a horrific and merciless killing”.
Judge Gratwicke said the jury saw Taylor for what he was – “a devious, jealous and ruthless individual prepared to unleash extreme violence on anyone who crosses your path”.
The judge said it was a brutal, sick and callous killing.
The kitchen knife used by Taylor on Laura had been wielded with such force that its blade was bent to a 45-degree angle.
Taylor, who denied the murder charge, had claimed in his defence that he stabbed Laura twice in self-defence after she attacked him. Things had gone “foggy” after that, he said, saying he could not remember most of the attack.
The Crown dismissed Taylor’s version of events, suggesting it was a vicious and sustained attack carried out by Taylor while in a jealous rage over Laura ending the relationship.
The attack had started in the flat, and continued outside as Laura fled in her pyjamas.